Bicycle Laws

The California Vehicle Code (CVC)includes multiple sections that relate to the operation of bicycles on public roadways. On this web page, you can find summaries of some laws and links to the full text, provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles . Each municipality, including the City of Rohnert Park, has local codes governing the operation of bicycles. Please check with your local jurisdiction for more information.

Equipment Requirements — CVC Section 21201

  • Bicycles must be equipped with working brakes that enable the the bicycle to make a braking skid on dry pavement.
  • Handlebars may not be in a position that the rider's hands would be higher than the shoulders when gripping them normally.
  • A bicycle must be of a size that the rider can safely operate, stop, support and restart the bicycle with one foot reaching the ground.
  • At night, bicycles must:
    • have a headlight that emits white light while the bicycle is in motion and illuminates no less than 300 feet in front of and to the sides of the bicycle
    • have a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 500 feet to the rear
    • have a white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe or ankle visible from the front and rear and visible for 200 feet
    • for other reflector requirements, see full statute

Laws Applicable to Bicycles — CVC Section 21200

Persons operating bicycles have all the rights and are subject to all the laws applicable to drivers in the vehicle code and may be cited for violations as appropriate.

Operation on Roadway — CVC Section 21202

Bicycles must travel as close as practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway unless:

  • passing another bicycle or vehicle
  • preparing for a legal left turn
  • when reasonably necessary to avoid a hazard
  • when approaching a right turn lane
  • traveling on a one-way roadway

Riding Bicycle Under the Influence — CVC Section 21200.5

It is illegal for any person to ride a bicycle on a public roadway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and/or any drug.

Hitching Rides — CVC Section 21203

It is illegal for any person riding a bicycle to hitch a ride by attaching or holding onto any vehicle on the roadway.

Use of Handlebars — CVC Section 21205

It is illegal for any person operating a bicycle to carry anything that prevents him or her from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.